Management and Financial Accounting

Accounting is usually seen as having two distinct strands, Management and Financial accounting. Management accounting, which seeks to meet the needs of managers and Financial accounting, which seeks to meet the accounting needs of all of the other users. The differences between the two types of accounting reflect the different user groups that they address. Briefly, the major differences are as follows:

  • Nature of the reports produced. Financial accounting reports tend to be general purpose. That is, they contain financial information that will be useful for a broad range of users and decisions rather than being specifically designed for the needs of a particular group or set of decisions. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, are often for a specific purpose. They are designed either with a particular decision in mind or for a particular manager.
  • Level of detail. Financial reports provide users with a broad overview of the performance and position of the business for a period. As a result, information is aggregated and detail is often lost. Management accounting reports, however, often provide managers with considerable detail to help them with a particular operational decision.
  • Regulations. Financial reports, for many businesses, are subject to accounting regulations that try to ensure they are produced with standard content and in a standard format. Law and accounting rule setters impose these regulations. Since management accounting reports are for internal use only, there are no regulations from external sources concerning the form and content of the reports. They can be designed to meet the needs of particular managers.
  • Reporting interval. For most businesses, financial accounting reports are produced on an annual basis, though many large businesses produce half-yearly reports and a few produce quarterly ones. Management accounting reports may be produced as frequently as required by managers. In many businesses, managers are provided with certain reports on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, which allows them to check progress frequently. In addition, special-purpose reports will be prepared when required (for example, to evaluate a proposal to purchase a piece of machinery).
  • Time horizon. Financial reports reflect the performance and position of the business for the past period. In essence, they are backward looking. Management accounting reports, on the other hand, often provide information concerning future performance as well as past performance. It is an oversimplification, however, to suggest that financial accounting reports never incorporate expectations concerning the future. Occasionally, businesses will release projected information to other users in an attempt to raise capital or to fight off unwanted takeover bids.
  • Range and quality of information. Financial accounting reports concentrate on information that can be quantified in monetary terms. Management accounting also produces such reports, but is also more likely to produce reports that contain information of a non-financial nature such as measures of physical quantities of inventories (stocks) and output. Financial accounting places greater emphasis on the use of objective, verifiable evidence when preparing reports. Management accounting reports may use information that is less objective and verifiable, but they provide managers with the information they need.

We can see from this that management accounting is less constrained than financial accounting. It may draw on a variety of sources and use information that has varying degrees of reliability. The only real test to be applied when assessing the value of the information produced for managers is whether or not it improves the quality of the decisions made.

The distinction between the two areas reflects, to some extent, the differences in access to financial information. Managers have much more control over the form and content of information they receive. Other users have to rely on what managers are prepared to provide or what the financial reporting regulations state must be provided. Though the scope of financial accounting reports has increased over time, fears concerning loss of competitive advantage and user ignorance concerning the reliability of forecast data have led businesses to resist providing other users with the detailed and wide-ranging information that is available to managers.

Main Functions of Management

There are four main functions of management.

1. Planning.

2. Organizing.

3. Leading.

4. Controlling.

Planning.

Planning is an important managerial function. It provides the design of a desired future state and the means of bringing about that future state to accomplish the organization’s objectives. In other words, planning is the process of thinking before doing. To solve the problems and take the advantages of the opportunities created by rapid change, managers must develop formal long- and short-range plans so that organizations can move toward their objectives.

It is the foundation area of management. It is the base upon which the all the areas of management should be built. Planning requires administration to assess; where the company is presently set, and where it would be in the upcoming. From there an appropriate course of action is determined and implemented to attain the company’s goals and objectives

Planning is unending course of action. There may be sudden strategies where companies have to face. Sometimes they are uncontrollable. You can say that they are external factors that constantly affect a company both optimistically and pessimistically. Depending on the conditions, a company may have to alter its course of action in accomplishing certain goals. This kind of preparation, arrangement is known as strategic planning. In strategic planning, management analyzes inside and outside factors that may affect the company and so objectives and goals. Here they should have a study of strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For management to do this efficiently, it has to be very practical and ample.

Characteristics of planning.

Ø Goal oriented.

Ø Primacy.

Ø Pervasive.

Ø Flexible.

Ø Continuous.

Ø Involves choice.

Ø Futuristic.

Ø Mental exercise.

Ø Planning premises.

Importance of planning.

* Make objectives clear and specific.

* Make activities meaningful.

* Reduce the risk of uncertainty.

* Facilitators coordination.

* Facilitators decision making.

* Promotes creativity.

* Provides basis of control.

* Leads to economy and efficiency.

* Improves adoptive behavior.

* Facilitates integration.

Formal and informal planning.

Formal planning usually forces managers to consider all the important factors and focus upon both short- and long-range consequences. Formal planning is a systematic planning process during which plans are coordinated throughout the organization and are usually recorded in writing. There are some advantages informal planning. First, formalized planning forces managers to plan because they are required to do so by their superior or by organizational rules. Second, managers are forced to examine all areas of the organization. Third, the formalization it self provides a set of common assumptions on which all managers can base their plans.

Planning that is unsystematic, lacks coordination, and involves only parts of the organizations called informal planning. It has three dangerous deficiencies. First, it may not account for all the important factors. Second, it frequency focuses only on short range consequences. Third, without coordination, plans in different parts of the organization may conflict.

Stages in planning.

The sequential nature of planning means that each stage must be completed before the following stage is begun. A systematic planning progress is a series of sequential activities that lead to the implementation of organizational plans.

  • The first step in planning is to develop organizational objectives.
  • Second, planning specialists and top management develop a strategic plan and communicate it to middle managers.
  • Third, use the strategic plans to coordinate the development of intermediate plans by middle managers.
  • Fourth, department managers and supervisors develop operating plans that are consistent with the intermediate plans.
  • Fifth, implementation involves making decisions and initiating actions to carry out the plans.
  • Sixth, the final stage, follow-up and control, which is critical.

The organizational planning system.

A coordinated organizational planning system requires that strategic, intermediate, and operating plans be developed in order of their importance to the organization. All three plans are interdependent with intermediate plans based on strategic plans and operating planes based on intermediate plans. Strategic plans are the first to be developed because they set the future direction of the organization and are crucial to the organization’s survival. Thus, strategic plans lay the foundation for the development of intermediate and operating plans. The next plans to be developed are the intermediate plans; intermediate plans cover major functional areas within an organization and are the steppingstones to operating plans. Last come operating plans; these provide specific guidelines for the activities within each department.

Organizing.

The second function of the management is getting prepared, getting organized. Management must organize all its resources well before in hand to put into practice the course of action to decide that has been planned in the base function. Through this process, management will now determine the inside directorial configuration; establish and maintain relationships, and also assign required resources.

While determining the inside directorial configuration, management ought to look at the different divisions or departments. They also see to the harmonization of staff, and try to find out the best way to handle the important tasks and expenditure of information within the company. Management determines the division of work according to its need. It also has to decide for suitable departments to hand over authority and responsibilities.

Importance of the organization process and organization structure.

  1. Promote specialization.
  2. Defines jobs.
  3. Classifies authority and power.
  4. Facilitators’ coordination.
  5. Act as a source of support security satisfaction.
  6. Facilitators’ adaptation.
  7. Facilitators’ growth.
  8. Stimulators creativity.

Directing (Leading).

Directing is the third function of the management. Working under this function helps the management to control and supervise the actions of the staff. This helps them to assist the staff in achieving the company’s goals and also accomplishing their personal or career goals which can be powered by motivation, communication, department dynamics, and department leadership.

Employees those which are highly provoked generally surpass in their job performance and also play important role in achieving the company’s goal. And here lies the reason why managers focus on motivating their employees. They come about with prize and incentive programs based on job performance and geared in the direction of the employees requirements.

It is very important to maintain a productive working environment, building positive interpersonal relationships, and problem solving. And this can be done only with Effective communication. Understanding the communication process and working on area that need improvement, help managers to become more effective communicators. The finest technique of finding the areas that requires improvement is to ask themselves and others at regular intervals, how well they are doing. This leads to better relationship and helps the managers for better directing plans.

Controlling.

Managerial control is the follow-up process of examining performance, comparing actual against planned actions, and taking corrective action as necessary. It is continual; it does not occur only at the end of specified periods. Even though owners or managers of small stores may evaluate performance at the end of the year, they also monitor performance throughout the year.

Types of managerial control:

* Preventive control.

Preventive controls are designed to prevent undesired performance before it occurs.

* Corrective control.

Corrective controls are designed to adjust situations in which actual performance has already deviated from planned performance.

Stages in the managerial control process.

The managerial control process is composed of several stages. These stages includes

  1. Determining performance standards.
  2. Measuring actual performance.
  3. Comparing actual performance against desired performance (performance standards) to determine deviations.
  4. Evaluating the deviations.
  5. Implementing corrective actions.

2) Describe how this each function leads to attain the organizational objectives.

Planning

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the process of planning includes planners working backwards through the system. They start from the results (outcomes and outputs) they prefer and work backwards through the system to identify the processes needed to produce the results. Then they identify what inputs (or resources) are needed to carry out the processes.

* Quick Look at Some Basic Terms:

Planning typically includes use of the following basic terms.

NOTE: It is not critical to grasp completely accurate definitions of each of the following terms. It is more important for planners to have a basic sense for the difference between goals/objectives (results) and strategies/tasks (methods to achieve the results).

  • Goals

Goals are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, in order to achieve some larger, overall result preferred from the system, for example, the mission of an organization. (Going back to our reference to systems, goals are outputs from the system.)

  • Strategies or Activities

These are the methods or processes required in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals. (Going back to our reference to systems, strategies are processes in the system.)

  • Objectives

Objectives are specific accomplishments that must be accomplished in total, or in some combination, to achieve the goals in the plan. Objectives are usually “milestones” along the way when implementing the strategies.

  • Tasks

Particularly in small organizations, people are assigned various tasks required to implement the plan. If the scope of the plan is very small, tasks and activities are often essentially the same.

  • Resources (and Budgets)

Resources include the people, materials, technologies, money, etc., required to implement the strategies or processes. The costs of these resources are often depicted in the form of a budget. (Going back to our reference to systems, resources are input to the system.)

Basic Overview of Typical Phases in Planning

Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the basic planning process typically includes similar nature of activities carried out in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or — in some cases — intuitively, for example, when planning a very small, straightforward effort. The complexity of the various phases (and their duplication throughout the system) depends on the scope of the system. For example, in a large corporation, the following phases would be carried out in the corporate offices, in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose (“Mission”) or Desired Result from System.

During planning, planners have in mind (consciously or unconsciously) some overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. For example, during strategic planning, it is critical to reference the mission, or overall purpose, of the organization.

2. Take Stock Outside and Inside the System.

This “taking stock” is always done to some extent, whether consciously or unconsciously. For example, during strategic planning, it is important to conduct an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering various driving forces, or major influences, that might effect the organization.

3. Analyze the Situation.

For example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a “SWOT analysis”. (SWOT is an acronym for considering the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats faced by the organization.) During this analysis, planners also can use a variety of assessments, or methods to “measure” the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals.

Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission of the system, planners establish a set of goals that build on strengths to take advantage of opportunities, while building up weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Strategies to Reach Goals.

The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen depend on matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives Along the Way to Achieving Goals.

Objectives are selected to be timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines with Each Objective.

Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation of the plan, and for achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document.

The above information is organized and written in a document which is distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge Completion and Celebrate Success.

This critical step is often ignored — which can eventually undermine the success of many of your future planning efforts. The purpose of a plan is to address a current problem or pursue a development goal. It seems simplistic to assert that you should acknowledge if the problem was solved or the goal met. However, this step in the planning process is often ignored in lieu of moving on the next problem to solve or goal to pursue. Skipping this step can cultivate apathy and skepticism — even cynicism — in your organization. Do not skip this step.

To Ensure Successful Planning and Implementation:

A common failure in many kinds of planning is that the plan is never really implemented. Instead, all focus is on writing a plan document. Too often, the plan sits collecting dust on a shelf. Therefore, most of the following guidelines help to ensure that the planning process is carried out completely and is implemented completely — or, deviations from the intended plan are recognized and managed accordingly.

  • Involve the Right People in the Planning Process

Going back to the reference to systems, it is critical that all parts of the system continue to exchange feedback in order to function effectively. This is true no matter what type of system. When planning, get input from everyone who will responsible to carry out parts of the plan, along with representative from groups who will be effected by the plan. Of course, people also should be involved in they will be responsible to review and authorize the plan.

  • Write Down the Planning Information and Communicate it Widely

New managers, in particular, often forget that others do not know what these managers know. Even if managers do communicate their intentions and plans verbally, chances are great that others will not completely hear or understand what the manager wants done. Also, as plans change, it is extremely difficult to remember who is supposed to be doing what and according to which version of the plan. Key stakeholders (employees, management, board members, founders, investor, customers, clients, etc.) may request copies of various types of plans. Therefore, it is critical to write plans down and communicate them widely.

  • Goals and Objectives Should Be SMARTER

SMARTER is an acronym, that is, a word composed by joining letters from different words in a phrase or set of words. In this case, a SMARTER goal or objective is:

Specific:

For example, it is difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are to pursue the goal to “work harder”. It is easier to recognize “Write a paper”.

Measurable:

It is difficult to know what the scope of “Writing a paper” really is. It is easier to appreciate that effort if the goal is “Write a 30-page paper”.

Acceptable:

If I am to take responsibility for pursuit of a goal, the goal should be acceptable to me. For example, I am not likely to follow the directions of someone telling me to write a 30-page paper when I also have to five other papers to write. However, if you involve me in setting the goal so I can change my other commitments or modify the goal, I am much more likely to accept pursuit of the goal as well.

Realistic:

Even if I do accept responsibility to pursue a goal that is specific and measurable, the goal will not be useful to me or others if, for example, the goal is to “Write a 30-page paper in the next 10 seconds”.

Time frame:

It may mean more to others if I commit to a realistic goal to “Write a 30-page paper in one week”. However, it will mean more to others (particularly if they are planning to help me or guide me to reach the goal) if I specify that I will write one page a day for 30 days, rather than including the possibility that I will write all 30 pages in last day of the 30-day period.

Extending:

The goal should stretch the performer’s capabilities. For example, I might be more interested in writing a 30-page paper if the topic of the paper or the way that I write it will extend my capabilities.

Rewarding:

I am more inclined to write the paper if the paper will contribute to an effort in such a way that I might be rewarded for my effort.

  • Build in Accountability (Regularly Review Who is Doing What and By When?)

Plans should specify who is responsible for achieving each result, including goals and objectives. Dates should be set for completion of each result, as well. Responsible parties should regularly review status of the plan. Be sure to have someone of authority “sign off” on the plan, including putting their signature on the plan to indicate they agree with and support its contents. Include responsibilities in policies, procedures, job descriptions, performance review processes, etc.

  • Note Deviations from the Plan and Replan Accordingly

It is OK to deviate from the plan. The plan is not a set of rules. It is an overall guideline. As important as following the plan is noticing deviations and adjusting the plan accordingly.

  • Evaluate Planning Process and the Plan

During the planning process, regularly collect feedback from participants. Do they agree with the planning process? If not, what do not they like and how could it be done better? In large, ongoing planning processes (such as strategic planning, business planning, project planning, etc.), it is critical to collect this kind of feedback regularly.

During regular reviews of implementation of the plan, assess if goals are being achieved or not. If not, were goals realistic? Do responsible parties have the resources necessary to achieve the goals and objectives? Should goals be changed? Should more priority be placed on achieving the goals? What needs to be done?

Finally, take 10 minutes to write down how the planning process could have been done better. File it away and read it the next time you conduct the planning process.

  • Recurring Planning Process is at Least as Important as Plan Document

Far too often, primary emphasis is placed on the plan document. This is extremely unfortunate because the real treasure of planning is the planning process itself. During planning, planners learn a great deal from ongoing analysis, reflection, discussion, debates and dialogue around issues and goals in the system. Perhaps there is no better example of misplaced priorities in planning than in business ethics. Far too often, people put emphasis on written codes of ethics and codes of conduct. While these documents certainly are important, at least as important is conducting ongoing communications around these documents. The ongoing communications are what sensitize people to understanding and following the values and behaviors suggested in the codes.

  • Nature of the Process Should Be Compatible to Nature of Planners

A prominent example of this type of potential problem is when planners do not prefer the “top down” or “bottom up”, “linear” type of planning (for example, going from general to specific along the process of an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, mission/vision/values, issues and goals, strategies, objectives, timelines, etc.) There are other ways to conduct planning. For an overview of various methods, see (in the following, the models are applied to the strategic planning process, but generally are eligible for use elsewhere).

Critical — But Frequently Missing Step — Acknowledgement and Celebration of Results

It’s easy for planners to become tired and even cynical about the planning process. One of the reasons for this problem is very likely that far too often, emphasis is placed on achieving the results. Once the desired results are achieved, new ones are quickly established. The process can seem like having to solve one problem after another, with no real end in sight. Yet when one really thinks about it, it is a major accomplishment to carefully analyze a situation, involve others in a plan to do something about it, work together to carry out the plan and actually see some results.

Organizing.

Organizing can be viewed as the activities to collect and configure resources in order to implement plans in a highly effective and efficient fashion. Organizing is a broad set of activities, and often considered one of the major functions of management. Therefore, there are a wide variety of topics in organizing. The following are some of the major types of organizing required in a business organization.

A key issue in the design of organizations is the coordination of activities within the organization.

  • Coordination

Coordinating the activities of a wide range of people performing specialized jobs is critical if we wish avoid mass confusion. Likewise, various departments as grouping of specialized tasks must be coordinated. If the sales department sells on credit to anyone who wished it, sales are likely to increase but bad-debt losses may also increase. If the credit department approves sales only to customers with excellent credit records, sales may be lower. Thus there is a need to link or coordinate the activities of both departments (credits and sales) for the good of the total organization.

Coordination is the process of thinking several activities to achieve a functioning whole.

Leading

Leading is an activity that consists of influencing other people’s behavior, individually and as a group, toward the achievement of desired objectives. A number of factors affect leadership. To provide a better understanding of the relationship of these factors to leadership, a general model of leadership is presented.

The degree of leader’s influence on individuals and group effectiveness is affected by several energizing forces:

  1. Individual factors.
  2. Organizational factors.
  3. The interaction (match or conflict) between individual and organizational factors.

A leader’s influence over subordinates also affects and is affected by the effectiveness of the group.

* Group effectiveness.

The purpose of leadership is to enhance the group’s achievement. The energizing forces may directly affect the group’s effectiveness. The leader skills, the nature of the task, and the skills of each employee are all direct inputs into group achievement. If, for example, one member of the group is unskilled, the group will accomplish less. If the task is poorly designed, the group will achieve less.

These forces are also combined and modified by leader’s influence. The leader’s influence over subordinates acts as a catalyst to the task accomplishment by the group. And as the group becomes more effective, the leader’s influence over subordinates becomes greater.

There are times when the effectiveness of a group depends on the leader’s ability to exercise power over subordinates. A leader’s behavior may be motivating because it affects the way a subordinate views task goals and personal goals. The leader’s behavior also clarifies the paths by which the subordinate may reach those goals. Accordingly, several managerial strategies may be used.

First, the leader may partially determine which rewards (pay, promotion, recognition) to associate with a given task goal accomplishment. Then the leader uses the rewards that have the highest value for the employee. Giving sales representatives bonuses and commissions is an example of linking rewards to tasks. These bonuses and commissions generally are related to sales goals.

Second, the leader’s interaction with the subordinate can increase the subordinate’s expectations of receiving the rewards for achievement.

Third, by matching employee skills with task requirements and providing necessary support, the leader can increase the employee’s expectation that effort will lead to good performance. The supervisor can either select qualified employees or provide training for new employees. In some instances, providing other types of support, such as appropriate tools, may increase the probability that employee effort leads to task goal accomplishment.

Fourth, the leader may increase the subordinate’s personal satisfaction associated with doing a job and accomplishing job goals by

  1. Assigning meaningful tasks;
  2. Delegating additional authority;
  3. Setting meaningful goals;
  4. Allowing subordinates to help set goals;
  5. Reducing frustrating barriers;
  6. Being considerate of subordinates’ need.

With a leader who can motivate subordinates, a group is more likely to achieve goals; and therefore it is more likely to be affective.

Controlling.

Control, the last of four functions of management, includes establishing performance standards which are of course based on the company’s objectives. It also involves evaluating and reporting of actual job performance. When these points are studied by the management then it is necessary to compare both the things. This study on comparison of both decides further corrective and preventive actions.

In an effort of solving performance problems, management should higher standards. They should straightforwardly speak to the employee or department having problem. On the contrary, if there are inadequate resources or disallow other external factors standards from being attained, management had to lower their standards as per requirement. The controlling processes as in comparison with other three, is unending process or say continuous process. With this management can make out any probable problems. It helps them in taking necessary preventive measures against the consequences. Management can also recognize any further developing problems that need corrective actions.

Although the control process is an action oriented, some situations may require no corrective action. When the performance standard is appropriate and actual performance meets that standard, no changes are necessary. But when control actions are necessary, they must be carefully formulated.

An effective control system is one that accomplishes the purposes for which it was designed.

Controls are designed to affect individual actions in an organization. Therefore control systems have implications for employee behavior. Managers must recognize several behavioral implications and avoid behavior detrimental to the organization.

  • It is common for individuals to resist certain controls. Some controls are designed to constrain and restrict certain types of behavior. For example, Dress codes often evoke resistance.
  • Controls also carry certain status and power implications in organizations. Those responsible for controls placed on important performance areas frequently have more power to implement corrective actions.
  • Control actions may create intergroup or interpersonal conflict within organizations. As stated earlier, coordination is required for effective controls. No quantitative performance standards may be interpreted differently by individuals, introducing the possibility of conflict.
  • An excessive number of controls may limit flexibility and creativity. The lack of flexibility and creativity may lead to low levels of employee satisfaction and personal development, thus impairing the organization’s ability to adapt to a changing environment.

Managers can overcome most of these consequences through communication and proper implementation of control actions. All performance standards should be communicated and understood.

Control systems must be implemented with concern for their effect on people’s behavior in order to be in accord with organizational objectives. The control process generally focuses on increasing an organization’s ability to achieve its objectives.

Effective and efficient management leads to success, the success where it attains the objectives and goals of the organizations. Of course for achieving the ultimate goal and aim management need to work creatively in problem solving in all the four functions. Management not only has to see the needs of accomplishing the goals but also has to look in to the process that their way is feasible for the company.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Corporate Financial Reporting

Corporate Financial Reporting is part of corporate reporting that consists of financial statements and accompanying notes that are prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). The financial statements are summaries of business transactions during the financial year of the corporation. The business world has many forms of organizations ranging from the for profit sole proprietorship, partnership and incorporated businesses with limited liability to the not for profit organizations whose existence is not mainly driven by financial gain.

Regulations that govern the preparation of financial statements largely apply only to the incorporated entities. This has given rise to accounting standards setting bodies and legal provisions that form the frameworks used when preparing the financial statements. The process of preparing the reports in accordance with the GAAPs and legal requirements presents advantages and disadvantages to the organizations and to other interested groups. The International Financial Reporting Standards are increasingly being adopted by many national accounting standards setting bodies leading the way to a single set of accounting standards all over the world. It is therefore worthwhile to look at the advantages and disadvantages of financial reporting to create an awareness of the complexities that corporations and accounting professionals contend with.

THE ADVANTAGES

A number of advantages of corporate financial reporting can be enumerated and perhaps among the most important is that organizations are able to compare their individual performance with others in the same industry or line of business. This is because the established principles, standards and regulations ensure that there is a benchmark to be followed in the preparation of financial reports. Recognition of income, expense, assets and liabilities is standardized by the existing framework and any deviation can be countered with disciplinary or legal action. Organizations strive to prepare their financial statements to closely match the set frameworks as much as possible. In some countries for example Kenya, this has been translated into an annual competition (the fire award) where companies performance in this area is assessed by professional bodies including the national accounting professionals body with the aim of awarding the company with the best prepared financial statements. This in turn promotes staff and professional development which is a desirable aspect in the growth and wealth creation of the corporate organizations.

Investors and owners of companies in jurisdictions where corporate financial reporting follows strong established and clear frameworks can make the appropriate investment decisions. Corporate reporting in this case enhances the development of understanding of the activities of the companies and at the same time keeps the companies themselves on their toes as the wider society is well-informed of the expected reporting standards. This also acts as an incentive to managers to perform at their best and to institute control measures that aid the organization to comply with the frameworks.

Requirements of corporate financial reporting lead to timely preparation of financial reports. This is desirable to the stakeholders who may be more interested in the organizations immediate past rather than wait for a long time before the outcome of their input is known. When financial reports are prepared and published within the stipulated time, it is possible for necessary actions to be taken to correct any anomalies that may have led to undesirable outcomes. In a more serious case where a material error happens to be discovered, it can be corrected and the necessary measures taken to avoid a repeat of such occurrences.

IFRS give room for flexibility as they are based on principles rather than rules. As principles are based on value, corporations can adopt the standards that best suit their circumstances as long as fair value is adequately reported. This also encourages professional development as accounting standards setting requires qualified academics who can develop the required standards after lengthy and rigorous discussions and considerations to come to a consensus.

Overall, corporate financial reporting acts as a control measure as management, owners, employees, customers, creditors and the government are dependent on the reports in their decision-making. For instance the government in taxation of companies relies at the outset on the financial reports prepared and examined by qualified public or certified professionals. Trends on the growth of the companies can also be quickly determined by comparing sets of reports for different periods.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Corporate financial reporting does not bring desirable results only. There are some undesirable outcomes that should be mitigated against. The consideration of cost guides many companies in their operation. In preparing corporate financial reports in accordance with laid down standards and rules, expertise is required and the company has to engage highly qualified professionals for this task. The fee payments to qualified professionals can be prohibiting especially to small companies controlled closely by their owner managers. Compared to larger companies the small entities do not have adequate resources to implement adoption of the standards or even to train or employ qualified staff. In many instances such small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are tempted to forgo compliance with certain aspects of the standards or rules leading to problems with regulatory bodies including the government.

Freedom to adopt standards that suit the particular circumstances of the company leads to manipulation of reports. Disclosure of important information is in jeopardy as there is no legal enforcement for implementing the standards. Even where the government imposes legal obligations on what financial reports are to be prepared, there are still loopholes that can arise especially when the accounting standards and the legal stipulations are not in conformity in some areas.

For multinational companies, there are challenges in preparing their consolidated financial reports especially where operations are in countries with different accounting standards and legal regimes. There are also other challenges in dealing with for instance exchange rates, interest rates and transfer pricing where treatment of such aspects may be considered differently in different countries. Taxation and existence or non-existence of dual taxation treaties also poses another challenge.

CONCLUSION

It can be concluded that corporate financial reporting is essential and the gains from following accounting standards based on principles far outweigh the disadvantages as freedom to prepare reports in whatever way organizations deem appropriate may lead to financial chaos.

Platforms – Trading Forex – I Make Tens Of Thousands Every Day

Most people lose all their money in forex, at least the first few times they load up their live account and try to profit from platforms trading. They start out with demo accounts with the platform, most probably with Meta-Trader 4 as it is the most widely used and they practice varying strategies and at least master the basics of platforms trading like opening and closing trades.

The first thing that strikes people when they go live is that all their cool handed emotions that were under control with their demo account has flown straight out the window and change into a completely different person. They start smoking 2 cigarettes at the same time and cannot leave the screen to eat of visit the toilet. Certainly going live even with a tiny $200 account is a very emotional awakening. In no time at all, they’ve lost all their money and don’t have enough equity in the account to open even a single micro-lot trade.

But even if the emotions were not a problem, the true reason that most people lose their money is that they operate under the same nonsense belief system that has been taught throughout the ages. And the main problem these people suffer with is the use of Stop Losses. The real issue is the Stop Loses settings do not stop losses – they only crystalize and confirm them. They lock in losses which seems to me to be a crazy way to hope to make a profit.

I do use the same methods to calculate a stop-loss position, often 50-80 pips away from the price of a trade – but I never enter the setting on a trade. In the alternative, what I do is open a pending Stop Order at the 50-80 pips, and so if a trade does go bad on me, the trade will always stay alive until it eventually does hit my profit target and the pending order goes live in the interim period just locking my equity to no further losses. Thereafter I have time to manage the trades, and to close both the hedged trades in profit. I refuse to accept any trade is a loser; I hedge my bets at safe levels and then make money on both of them.

Meanings and Importance of Financial Statement Analysis

All financial statements are essentially historically historical documents. They tell what has happened during a particular period of time. However most users of financial statements are concerned about what will happen in the future. Stockholders are concerned with future earnings and dividends. Creditors are concerned with the company’s future ability to repay its debts. Managers are concerned  with the company’s ability to finance future expansion. Despite the fact that financial statements are historical documents, they can still provide valuable information bearing on all of these concerns.

Financial statement analysis involves careful selection of data from financial statements for the primary purpose of forecasting the financial health of the company. This is accomplished by examining trends in key financial data, comparing financial data across companies, and analyzing key financial ratios.

Managers are also widely concerned with the financial ratios. First the ratios provide indicators of how well the company and its business units are performing. Some of these ratios would ordinarily be used in a balanced scorecard approach. The specific ratios selected depend on the company’s strategy. For example a company that wants to emphasize responsiveness to customers may closely monitor the inventory turnover ratio. Since managers must report to shareholders and may wish to raise funds from external sources, managers must pay attention to the financial ratios used by external inventories to evaluate the company’s investment potential and creditworthiness.

Although financial statement analysis is a highly useful tool, it has two limitations. These two limitations involve the comparability of financial data between companies and the need to look beyond ratios. Comparison of one company with another can provide valuable clues about the financial health of an organization. Unfortunately, differences in accounting methods between companies sometime makes it difficult to compare the companies’ financial data. For example if one company values its inventories by the LIFO method and another firm by average cost method, then direct comparisons of financial data such as inventory valuations are and cost of goods sold between the two firms may be misleading. Some times enough data are presented in foot notes to the financial statements to restate data to a comparable basis. Otherwise, the analyst should keep in mind the lack of comparability of the data before drawing any definite conclusion. Nevertheless, even with this limitation in mind, comparisons of key ratios with other companies and with industry averages often suggest avenues for further investigation.

An inexperienced analyst may assume that ratios are sufficient in themselves as a basis for judgment about the future. Nothing could be further from the truth. Conclusions based on ratio analysis must be regarded as tentative. Ratios should not be viewed as an end, but rather they should be viewed as a starting point, as indicators of what to pursue in greater depth. They raise may questions, but they rarely answer any question by themselves. In addition to ratios, other sources of data should be analyzed in order to make judgments about the future of an organization. They analyst should look, for example, at industry trends, technological changes, changes in consumer tastes, changes in broad economic factors, and changes within the firm itself. A recent change in a key management position, for example, might provide a basis for optimism about the future, even though the past performance of the firm may have been mediocre.

Few figures appearing on financial statements have much significance standing by themselves. It is the relationship of one figure to another and the amount and direction of change over time that are important in financial statement analysis. How does the analyst key in on significant relationship? How does the analyst dig out the important trends and changes in a company? Three analytical techniques are widely used; dollar and percentage changes on statements, common-size statements, and financial ratios formulas.